I have a particular friend whose greatest joy is to talk. Specifically, she loves to talk about others. No one likes to admit that we gossip, but we all are guilty of indulging in it from time to time. Whether its checking up on the latest celebrity blogs or skimming the tabloids at the checkout stand in the grocery store—we love to sneak a peek into the lives of others. But what about the people who you actually know? Is it ever okay to gossip about friends?

If you have ever tried to avoid conversations with a gossipy friend, take note… there is hope to stop the gossiper in her tracks!

1. Redirect the conversation… try to get the gossiper to talk about herself instead of others. Hopefully she’ll get distracted and drop the subject altogether.

2. Do not take the bait… if the gossiper asks you what you think about some situation that involves a friend or associate of yours and it’s really none of either of yours’ business, do not offer any feedback. Disengage, play dumb if you must.

3. Point back to the source… if your talkative friend is involved in an entanglement, is over-sharing or being mean-spirited as a way to vent, suggest that she talk to the person who she has the issue with. Stay neutral. You would not want something that you said in the heat of the moment to get repeated (after all, you’re talking to a gossiper, remember?).

4. If all else fails be direct… be firm, yet polite when you state that you do not think the friend that is being discussed would appreciate being talked about behind their back. The gossiping party may get offended but that is not your concern.

Let the gossiper know that as a friend, you trust that the things the two of you discuss would be kept private and you want to give your other friends the same respect. Remember the Christian Louboutin on the other foot… if your friend gossips about others, there is a good chance she gossips about your business as well. Think about how you would want to be handled if you were the topic of discussion. Respect the boundaries that you set by refusing to participate even if the gossip is juicy.

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  • Jay

    I guess this is the part where I confess to my “chatting it up” ways. Honestly everyone really does do it, even though it may not be intentional. In my case its not to everyone but just to my closer friends. Its usually the result of me being fed up with something to the point I just HAVE to tell someone. I do think there is a difference though. To me gossiping is something that’s done maliciously with the intent of it getting to everyone. Simply venting to your close gal pals is the complete opposite because for the most part, you’re seeking advice on how to deal with whatever is going on and that’s your inner circle where you don’t have to worry about it “getting out”.

  • We all “gossip” or have friends that do… What I don’t like about it is when somebody always has to say something negative about EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY, even getting to the point of making up stuff just to say something negative about the next person… It really showcases their own insecurities, and that’s when I either negate their opinion, stop talking altogether, or try to change the subject. Also, for my friends that do gossip or are non-stop talkers, I try my best to NOT tell them any of my personal business because I definitely don’t need them spreading what I tell them to the next person… I just listen to what they have to say, may/may not add my two cents, and keep it moving…

  • whit

    The only problem I have is that if she is talking about all these other people to me, then she is also talking behind MY back. I don’t like that, so I try to stay away from them at all costs. It’s just a bad vibe.

  • I’ve had a few friends over the years who are gossip mongers.

    It was painful to realize but the person who gossips to you normally gossips about you. I mean, how can you really think that someone who has nothing good to say about anyone speaks kindly of you? How can you think that someone who takes joy in other people’s misery can genuinely be happy for you?

    The two last gossiping friends I had —I’ve cut them both off. Aside from being gossipy, they were very catty and self aggrandizing. I actually did find out they were talking about me. Their comments about me were based on ignorance, on stupidity, and out of mean spiritedness.

    Have I talked about people in the past? Yes, when I’m actually concerned about their well-being and wonder if I could be of some help. Have I spoken poorly of people in the past? Yes, because those people have actually affected me in some way and caused disappointment.

  • Cammy

    I do not gossip. If you think that everyone gossips, you’re insane. We should have all learned in middle school not to do that. It’s mean-spirited to say the least. You can broaden the scope and say anything that is said about someone else is gossip, but that’s utterly not true. Gossip is personal information or rumor shared about others. And I simply refuse to do that. It’s rude.